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The stock market has had a positive start to 2018, as the S&P 500, the Dow Jones industrial average, NASDAQ composite and the Russell 2000 index continued to gain.

As The Associated Press reports, the stock indexes continued to climb to new heights as rising retailers pushed them further into record territory on Friday, following a strong holiday shopping season.

From The AP:

The S&P 500 rose 18.68 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,786.24 on Friday to close out its seventh week of gains in the last eight. The index is already up more than 4 percent for 2018.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 228.46, or 0.9 percent, to 25,803.19, the Nasdaq composite rose 49.28, or 0.7 percent, to 7,261.06 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 5.18, or 0.3 percent, to 1,591.97.

Retailers led the way after a government report confirmed that the holiday shopping season was a strong one, with retail sales rising 0.4 percent last month following a 0.9 percent surge in November. The numbers fit with what individual retailers have said recently, and several have raised their profit forecasts as a result.

Shares of Kohl’s, Target, Nordstrom and Dollar Tree all jumped more than 3 percent.

Treasury yields rose as well, following a key measure of inflation which rose more than economists expected last month. The yield on the two-year Treasury went from 1.98 to 2.00 percent late Thursday, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury stayed at 2.54 percent.

The AP reports:

Stocks have been remarkably calm and strong for more than a year. Sandy Villere, a partner and portfolio manager at Villere & Co., said he’s optimistic stocks can rise even further because the economy is strengthening and Washington’s move to cut tax rates last month will boost corporate profits, among other reasons.

The next tests for companies will arrive in coming weeks, as they report their results for the last three months of 2017. Expectations are generally high, and analysts are forecasting growth of nearly 11 percent for S&P 500 earnings per share, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Meanwhile, Facebook dropped $8.40, or 4.5 percent, to $179.37 after they announced that they would show users fewer posts from brands in favor of posts from friends and family.


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